George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 30 November 1776

From Jonathan Trumbull, Sr.

Hartford Novr 30th 1776


I am now to acknowlege the Rect of your several favors of 6th 7th 10th & 17th instant & for the interesting intelligence they Contain1—By the nonappearance of the Enemy on ours, or the Rhodisland Coast as yet, gives us great hopes that, for this Winter, we may remain quiet in this quarter, tho’ it becomes us always to be vigilant—it equally affords me the most sensible satisfaction to hear that our losses are less than were at first feard, particularly those of Monday mentioned in yours of the 6th, and wish the Loses of the Enemy, & among the rest of a Col. Carr, might induce them to desist from the further prossecution of so unjust a War—Your Conjecture of Genl Howes intention to make an excursion on the Jersey side, before he goes into Winter quarters, is undoubtedly well founded—may all his designs to distress us, prove abortive.2

Impressd with the critical situation the Army must be in at the departure of the new Levies, I have laid the matter before the Assembly with your own observations on ⟨that⟩ head3—they have from the necessity of the case, notwithstanding our late exertions, & the repeated drafts made upon us, Ordered four Battalions to be raised & marched, as soon as may be, until the fifteenth of March next,4 in meantime every nerve shall be strained to engage & forward our Quota, of the new Army—to this purpose every Incourgment & measure is takeing here—and flatter myself what has been done, will not interfere with the general Service—Am fully sensible that the applications of the Militia for repeated dismissions, must have given you much trouble & Concern,5 but hope in future, you will be releived in those respects—the Militia are certainly a respectable body of Men, but without constant imploy, they will grow impatient—have no doubt every reasonable allowance will be made in their favor—The advance pay of Twenty shillings per month, over & above what was allowd by Congress, which you made mention of, has been since reconsidered6—The Wages of the Troops must, at least, be similar & if any further are made them in that way it should be general & by order of Congress, for the reason you mention.

The loss of Fort Washington, with so many of our brave men, is indeed a most unfortunate Event, but tho’ we are to consider & improve this & like disappointments, as the just chastisments of Heaven for our many transgressions, yet are we by no means to despair—we are in this way to be prepared for help & deliverance—this intelligence is forwarded to Gov. Cooke & the Massachusets State according your desire.7

I shall immediately forward all the Cloathing & Blankets that are or can be Obtained—the utmost pains are takeing to furnish these & every other supply in our power for the distressd Troops, for whom we most sensibly feel.8

To prevent any impositions & to incourage our own Troops in future, our State has undertaken to furnish and deliver them all kinds of refreshments, not found by the Comissary General, at prime Cost—to carry this into Execution, we suppose a general Store must be provided, a Receiver General appointed, as also proper persons (perhaps the Paymasters) in each Battalion, to receive & Issue for such Battalion, and some general plan formd, that these supplies may be considered as under the Care and protection of the Army, also pass thro’ such hands as shall stand accountable, and at sametime the pay secured & stopd from the Troops, in hands of the pay master, for use of this State—I have stated the same thing to the Genl Officers from this State, & desired them to Consult your Excelly—& obtain the proper directions for effecting the undertakeing & advise me of it, that when these Stores arrive we may know how & where to apply. I am, with great truth & Esteem Sir—Your most Obedient Humble Servant

Jonth; Trumbull


1For Robert Hanson Harrison’s letters to Trumbull of 6 and 7 Nov., see GW to Hancock, 6 Nov., n.4, and Trumbull to GW, 13 Nov., n.2. The letters to Trumbull of 10 and 17 Nov. were written by GW.

2For the parts of Harrison’s letter to Trumbull of 6 Nov. concerning the casualties at the Battle of White Plains on Monday, 28 Oct., and Howe’s expected invasion of New Jersey, see the draft in DLC:GW; see also Force, American Archives description begins Peter Force, ed. American Archives. 9 vols. Washington, D.C., 1837–53. description ends , 5th ser., 3:546–47. For a general discussion of the casualties in the Battle of White Plains, see Harrison to Hancock, 29 Oct., n.3. For the death of Lt. Col. Robert Carr, see GW to Hancock, 6 Nov., n.6.

3Trumbull is referring to Harrison’s letter to him of 7 Nov. (see Trumbull to GW, 13 Nov., n.2).

4This action was taken by the special session of the Connecticut general assembly that convened on 19 Nov. (see Hinman, Historical Collection description begins Royal R. Hinman, comp. A Historical Collection, from Official Records, Files &c., of the Part Sustained by Connecticut, during the War of the Revolution. Hartford, 1842. description ends , 246–48). The assembly also resolved “that if Gen. Washington, or the commander of the continental army, near New York, should deem it necessary for the safety of the United States that the troops, or any part of them, who belonged to this colony, should remain in service longer than their enlistment to complete the new army, or other extra emergency; that in such case, the troops were by the Assembly earnestly requested, for the sake of their country, and all its inestimable rights, themselves, and all posterity, to comply with such requisition for so short a time as the general should request; for which continuance in service they were to be reasonably rewarded. The Governor was desired to write the general, and in the most pressing manner, to recommend to said troops to comply with the request of the Assembly” (ibid., 248).

5For GW’s remarks on this subject, see the part of Harrison’s letter to Trumbull of 7 Nov. that is quoted in Trumbull to GW, 13 Nov., n.2.

8For the Connecticut general assembly’s recent resolutions regarding the supplying of clothing and blankets to the army, see ibid., 245, 248.

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